The Macksey Journal


On January 12th, the New York Times published a substantial article comparing American history textbooks from California and Texas called “Two States, Eight Textbooks. Two American Stories.” It revealed the differences of how history is indoctrinated in said states, who have passed laws dictating how details of historic events are taught in the classroom. In my research, I focus on similar issues regarding school textbooks in South Korea. Following Japanese colonial rule in 1910, Korean people adopted a sense of defensive nationalism as their efforts for an independent Korean led to American occupation and war. The United States’ involvement in the Korean War has been taught from many perspectives, but South Korean’s remember the war as being fueled by a desire for a unified, democratic Korea. As the recent New York Times article highlighted, history textbooks spoke highly of the U.S. aid that allocated their stable economy and new democratic government. After the Yangju Highway Incident in 2002, South Korean textbooks started presenting U.S. involvement in their country in a different light. For my research, I created a series of six blogs, each focused on a different aspect and historical memory of the Korean War. As part of my research, I compared South Korean textbooks from 2001 and 2009 as well as U.S. and South Korean documents about education following the war to consider why the U.S. involvement during the Korean War is being rewritten in South Korean textbooks.